Top 5 Cancer-Causing Ingredients to Avoid

cancer causing ingridients to avoid

October is the UK's Breast Cancer Awareness month - a whole month of advice, information and guidance centred around breast cancer.

According to the charity Breast Cancer Care, every year nearly 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, that’s the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes, and 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

I'm sure you'll agree, those are some worrying statistics.

While there are many things you can do to improve your chances of a life without cancer - including eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, taking regular exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle - in this article I'm concentrating on what you put on your skin and how that can affect your health.

Your skin is AMAZING! Think about it... your skin is so intelligently designed that it renews the entire outer covering of your body every 4–6 weeks, and it has the ability to heal and repair itself.

But your skin is also like a second stomach - it eats and digests whatever you put on it. Anything you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream... in just 26 seconds.

So let's take a look at some of the skincare ingredient horror stories...


Found in 90% of foaming products (bubble bath, shower gel, shampoo, liquid soap, etc.), sulphates are basically detergents used to clean away oil and dirt from the skin surface.

On product labels, sulphates are often described as “derived from coconut”. That's good right? Well no. You see, these lovely fresh coconuts are sent to factory and processed beyond recognition. And the result of that processing is then processed again. So it's not so natural anymore.

Cleaning away oil and dirt from the skin can be good because a build-up on the skin can cause problems. But they also strip the skin of the good oils that your skin needs to keep it soft and supple, which can lead to dry and irritated skin, and can also exacerbate eczema.

Sulphates are suspected as carcinogens and hormone-disruptors. They also promote cancer-causing substances called “nitrosamines” in products during storage.


These are common preservatives found in many skincare products, and shown on ingredients labels as ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben.

Parabens cause skin allergies and irritation, disrupt hormones and endocrine system, and are neurotoxic.

They cannot yet be said to cause cancer… BUT… in a 2004 UK study, parabens were found in 18 out of 20 - that's 90% - of breast cancer tumours.


Commonly known as an ingredient in embalming fluid used to preserve dead bodies, formaldehyde is also used as a preservative in skincare products.

Formaldehyde is used in products like nail varnish, nail glue, eyelash glue, and hair-straightening products. It can also be found in products like baby shampoo, baby soap, and body washes, even if not shown on label. This is because they may contain formaldehyde-releasing preservatives which release small amounts over time.

Formaldehyde can cause skin irritation and allergic rashes, and it's a carcinogen linked to leukaemia.


Found on ingredients labels as dibutyl phthalate {DBP} or diethylhexyl phthalate {DEHP}, phthalates are used to stabilise a fragrance within a product and “fix” the scent and prevent it from dissipating over time. Phthalates are also used to “fix” a product to the body, and so are found in products such as hairspray, and nail varnish.

Phthalates are linked to asthma and allergies, and they are known to cause disruption to the hormones and endocrine system. This might explain the effects phthalates have on fertility and foetal development and their link to birth defects of male sex organs.

Phthalates have also been linked to learning disabilities and behavioural problems in children, early puberty in girls (which can lead to a higher likelihood of developing breast cancer later in life), breast growth in boys, and prostate and testicular cancer.

Sodium Benzoate

This is another very common cosmetic, food and supplement preservative used to protect acidic environments from spoiling. When mixed with vitamin C and ascorbic acid, sodium benzoate forms benzene, which is a known carcinogen.

The scary thing is that this reaction doesn't necessarily have to take place in a product. You see, if you have vitamin C in your food or already in your body and you use a product containing sodium benzoate, then you have made a carcinogen within your own body.

So what should I use?

I know what you’re thinking! I’ve just told you a whole list of stuff you should avoid, so what are you meant to use?

Well, natural skincare products, of course! You do ask silly questions!

Freyaluna natural skincare products harness the goodness given by Mother Nature to help you achieve the healthy beautiful skin we all strive for.

Natural skincare products work in a different way to their chemical-packed alternatives. Where mass-produced products work by trying to control the skin and change how it naturally functions, thus disrupting your whole body, the ingredients used in our natural skincare product actually help to support your skin and all its natural processes.

If you'd like to know more about what you will and won't find in our skincare products, you can take a look at our website for lots more information.

By law, we do have to add a preservative to our products, but we use the kindest, most natural and eco-friendly preservative we have found. To read more about our preserving system, check out this article I wrote a little while ago.

For more information about how a healthy diet can help fight cancer, take a look at this article I wrote last year.

Until next time,

Sami Blackford 



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